Myths + Dos & Don'ts

Here are some examples of nonbinary myths, as well as some dos and don'ts:

The left half of the picture explains what gender IS: 'A spectrum, a range of expression, how you relate to yourself, [and] a personal identity.' On the right side, what gender IS NOT is described: 'just male or female, defined by body parts, [related to] sexual [nor romantic] orientation, [nor] determined by chromosomes'

MYTH: Nonbinary people are "just attention-seeking," "lying," "just want to be unique," "all mentally ill," et cetera.

FACT: Those who identify as nonbinary ARE nonbinary - they aren't identifying as such just to be "special snowflakes." The notion that nonbinary people are all mentally ill is also incorrect, as gender identity is separate from physical attributes, and varies across cultures and time periods.

MYTH: There are only 2 genders.

FACT: If you don't already understand this, I'll repeat it: There are more than two genders.

MYTH: Gender is a pretty fixed concept.

FACT: Gender varies across cultures and time periods.

In front of a botanical-style tiling grey & dark grey background, three bullet points are stated: 'Gender is a variable concept, as its construction varies across cultures and over time; definition[s] of masculine and feminine often vary from one race and culture to another; [and] variations in gender definitions are due to specific economic, political, and social conditions of each class, culture, [and/]or era.'

DO respect genders across different cultures - not just universal identities, and vice versa. Here's an analogy that might help: Some people like chocolate ice cream, some like vanilla. That accounts for the majority of people, but there are people who prefer both, neither, have different tastes at different times, et cetera. What's wrong with them having a different ice cream preference?

Six different cartoon people are shown, with all but 2 (the two Hijras) representing a different culturally-specific gender identity (all 5 previously covered on the 'Examples' page). The words 'Respect Genders Across Cultures' is written in the center.

DON'T assume someone's gender identity nor pronouns. Like with attraction, how one looks to you doesn't indicate their gender identity, nor the pronouns they use.

In this comic by Emma Oosterhous, one person is texting their friend from their room, saying 'sooo...I don't think I'm a girl.' Their friend responds with 'oh!'re a boy?' The first person replies 'no, i dont think so,' and their friend says 'what? explain.' To themself, the first person says 'here we go.' They use a chalkboard to explain how gender is a spectrum, where people can be male, female, both, neither, 'sorta-but-not-quite,' all, 'it changes' (all of those options labeled as 'options unlimited'), and/or 'something else.' They also note that '[the] Western Gender Binary is a non-universal construct!' The friend, appearing to be taking notes at a desk, responds 'oh! okay, so I think I might be a demigirl!' The first person has waterfalls of happy tears flowing from their eyes, and angelic figures are harmonizing 'AAAAA' in the background atop a rainbow.

DO use the pronouns and name(s) that person asks you to use. Misgendering can be harmful and rude to many people - not just those who are nonbinary. If someone else misgenders them and/or uses the wrong terms/pronouns to describe them - whether or not they're doing it on purpose - correct them.

The words 'he,' 'she,' and 'me' are shown, with a strikethrough on the first two.

DON'T make assumptions about to whom they're out about their identity to, ask probing questions like "have you gotten ___ surgery yet?," et cetera. A lot of nonbinary people don't come out to some people (if at all, sadly) for various reasons, including safety and lack of trust. As explained before, gender isn't a physical thing, and asking someone about gender affirmation modifications that they may or may not even want isn't your business, unless you're actually involved in any of their transitional stuff (like their doctor).